Windows

Windows 7 data recovery from backup in a snap

Brad Bird outlines the steps he took when restoring data to his new Windows 7 system via a VHD image file.

Brad Bird outlines the steps he took when restoring data to his new Windows 7 system via a VHD image file.

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Recently, I loaded Windows 7 RTM on my laptop. I ran into an unexpected issue with BootMgr while installing, which reinforced the need for proper backups. Like all good IT soldiers, I did a complete system backup using the Windows 7 Create an Image Backup feature. I performed the backup to an external USB2 hard drive. The backup image gets created in .VHD format.

Windows 7 has several methods you can use to back up and restore data, including the Easy Transfer Wizard. If there are many customizations to retain, for example, the Easy Transfer Wizard may be your best option. In my opinion, browsing a backup image and just copying your files back is much quicker -- at least for my purpose. I'll show you how I did this in the steps below.

After loading Windows 7 on my laptop, I simply connected the external USB drive and browsed to the location of my VHD backup, as shown in Figure A.

Figure A

Then, I selected the larger of the two volumes in which my data was stored (Figure B).

Figure B

To access the backup data from the new system, you must take ownership of the object (Figure C). Here's how to do it.

Right-click on the target file, select Properties, then the Security tab, and click Advanced.

Figure C

Click the Owner tab and then the Edit button (Figure D).

Figure D

Select the new Owner account and click OK (Figure E).

Figure E

Click OK in the resulting dialog box. Click OK until you see the operation completing (Figure F).

Figure F

Now, go to Start | Control Panel | Administrative Tools | Computer Management and open Disk Management (Figure G).

Figure G

From the Action menu, select Attach VHD. Browse to the image file and it will mount as if it were a local disk! Once your restores are complete, select Detach VHD from the Action menu.

It is a good idea to hold on to the image for a while in case you later realize you need access to data from the old image file.

Do you have preferences for restoring your data to a new system in Windows 7? Have you tried the Easy Transfer Wizard? Let us know what you've discovered in the comments below.

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About

Brad Bird is a lead technical consultant and MCT certified trainer based in Ottawa, ON. He works with large organizations, helping them architect, implement, configure, and customize System Center technologies, integrating them into their business pr...

7 comments
adammondy
adammondy

This software repairs VHD files created using Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2 and Hyper-V swiftly without further delay or error. Besides, the tool is empowered with multiple working modes to retrieve data that has been lost due to severe damage to the VHD files.
 

Read More: http://www.vhd.recoverydeletedfiles.com/

use free trail version.

inertman
inertman

and linux, i found just having a separate drive for storage is the best route....

alexmillen
alexmillen

It's a .VHD so does that mean you could also open the image and image's OS via Micrisift Virtual PC?

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

I loaded Windows 7 RTM on my laptop. I ran into an unexpected issue with BootMgr while installing, which reinforced the need for proper backups. Like all good IT soldiers, I did a complete system backup using the Windows 7 Create an Image Backup feature. But nornally if you are installing Windows 7 then you donlt have a winfoes 7 complete system backup, do you?

cjc5447
cjc5447

The VHD format is compatible with Microsoft Virtual PC and Hyper-V, also VMWare ESXi. You could create a new virtual machine which uses the VHD backup file, providing you did a backup of the enire hard drive, and you'll be able to login and use the old image. But the point of this article is restoring files from a Windows 7 backup, you really only want to access the files on the old image, not boot the OS.

CalTec
CalTec

normally you wouldn't....unless you are upgrading from Win 7 RC. Since MS won't let you upgrade a pre-release to a RTM you would have to perform the backup to be able to restore your settings after the upgrade.